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19 Sep. 2022


How to return a child from abroad if one of the parents took him out without the consent of the other?

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How to return a child from abroad if one of the parents took him out without the consent of the other?

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After learning that your husband or wife has taken the child abroad, you do not know where your son or daughter is or are limited in communication with him/her, you should not panic.

Algorithm of actions

1) Write down the data of the person from whom you learned about the illegal removal of the child: full name, contact phone number, physical and e-mail address.

Before proceeding to active actions, it is necessary to collect all information about the illegal removal of a minor and the circumstances under which it took place. To do this, connect with everyone who may have the necessary information: teachers or educators, coaches, tutors, friends, relatives, classmates. All received data must be recorded immediately. This will help not to lose important details due to stress and establish a timeline.

2) Contact the State Border Service with a question about whether your child crossed the Ukrainian border. If so, with whom and according to which documents.

You can leave an appeal in electronic format using the link.

Attach a copy of your passport and the child's birth certificate to the application. If your child's phone has a location feature activated, contact your mobile operator.

3) Submit an application to the Ministry of Justice:

    • On the return of a minor;

    • On ensuring the implementation of the right of access to a child who is in the territory of another country.

You can apply with two applications at the same time. In accordance with the procedure for implementing the Convention on Civil Legal Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for assisting in the return of a child taken abroad without the consent of one of the parents.

After receiving the application, the Ministry of Justice turns to the authorized bodies of Ukraine and other states with a request for help in identifying the place of stay of the minor and facilitating his voluntary return to his homeland.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice informs the applicant about all intermediate results of the process of returning or exercising the right of access.

On what grounds can the application be rejected?

    1. There is no convention between Ukraine and the state to which the child was moved;

    2. The removal took place before the document came into effect between Ukraine and the country where the child resides;

    3. The application is unfounded;

    4. The child is sixteen years old.

The application is considered only if it is justified from the point of view of all provisions of the convention. It should contain all the necessary information.

Another mandatory condition is the presence of a package of documents according to the protocol. If all the rules are followed, the Ministry of Justice sends an application with supporting documents to the central authority of a foreign country in order to establish the child's whereabouts abroad. The ideal scenario is to resolve the issue peacefully. If this is not possible, the Ministry of Justice facilitates the initiation of legal proceedings.

Importantly! If the court makes a positive decision, it will be sent to the country where the child is. Foreign courts and public authorities will facilitate the return of the minor to his permanent place of residence or the exercise of the right of access for the applicant.

The procedure for considering applications by central authorities, the competence of other institutions, the availability of a system of free legal and mediation assistance for families is regulated by domestic legislation. All the necessary information can be found in the "CHILD_ABDUCTION" section on the website.

The period of residence of the child in another state is important for judicial authorities. If a minor has lived abroad for more than a year, adapted, acquired stable social ties and hobbies, they may be refused return to the territory of Ukraine.

Legal features of removal of children

In wartime, notarized consent from the other parent is not required.

The child can be accompanied by one of the parents or guardians, stepfather, stepmother, grandfather, grandmother, adult brother or sister. An adult must have documents confirming family ties: birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.

If the case is considered in court, the current situation in the region of residence of the child in Ukraine will be taken into account. If there is a possibility of causing her physical or psychological harm, she may be refused return to her permanent place of residence.

Attention! With questions and situations regarding the protection of the safety, life and rights of the child, you can get advice on the state child search portal "Children of War" or contact the Consultation Center of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine at the address: Kyiv, str. Instytutska, 21/8 or by telephone numbers: 0800-50-17-20 (toll-free within Ukraine), 044-253-75-89 (for calls from abroad).

We remind you, that Visit Ukraine provides round-the-clock legal consultations of partners for all users. Qualified help of a lawyer will allow you to quickly find answers to specific questions and have confidence in the relevance of information. Registration of the service is available at the link.